The Importance of Advocacy

Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose stops for a photo with guests of MP Shannon Stubbs September 20, 2016. Photo by Deb Ransom
By Jess Sinclair

In September 2016, Alberta Oil Magazine ran an article entitled “Oilwell Drillers’ Association President Remembers Life Before Energy Politics”. The writer questioned CAODC President Mark Scholz about what life was like in the oil and gas industry prior to large-scale pipeline protests and American celebrities flying up to Fort McMurray to lambaste the Canadian oilsands.

At the time, Scholz noted that the Oil Respect campaign was necessary “because of the urgency to fight back against a well-funded and well-organized radical and extreme environmental movement. [The campaign] was designed to get our political leaders to champion the industry and market access for our products.”

Fast-forward to the summer of 2017 and the need for Canada’s resource industries to educate the public and our policymakers about the merits of our sector has never been greater. If anything, Canada’s oil and gas industry has become even more politicized since the Alberta Oil piece hit the stands. In the wake of the Standing Rock protests, another high-profile visit from a washed-up celebrity (Jane Fonda, in this case) and two conditional—to a very vocal minority, controversial—pipeline approvals, our industry still faces considerable resistance.

Over the past several years, proponents of Canada’s resource industries have slowly woken up to the fact that well-funded groups like STAND, Greenpeace, and the Tides Foundation, as well as ‘news outlets’ like DeSmog and their affiliated mouthpieces will do absolutely anything in their power to keep our oil and gas in the ground. These folks lie, manipulate and pay protestors to rob ordinary Canadians of their jobs and threaten our future prosperity as a nation. They object to resource extraction in principle, and a significant cottage industry has arisen around killing projects—from refineries to terminals to pipelines—and blocking access to new markets by any means necessary.

But you know what? It’s a free country. People have the time and the right to protest these projects. Short of engaging in illegal activities like trespassing or violating the federal government’s constitutional right to force these projects through, this vocal minority, while misguided, is engaging in activities well within its rights.

So where does that leave us? Industry has, historically, failed to present a compelling case for the extraction, use and export of Canada’s plentiful hydrocarbon resources. We’re late to the party on this, but the facts are on our side. We must passionately defend our industry, but, more than that, we must celebrate it. It’s tough to engage with Twitter cry-bullies, paid protestors, or your eco-activist uncle who insists on referring to the Alberta oilsands as the ‘tarsands.’ But that is what we must do to ensure that vital nation-building projects are completed and that Canadians will enjoy prosperity and a robust quality of life for generations to come.

That is where the CAODC advocacy campaign, Oil Respect, comes in. The campaign, founded in early 2016, has three main goals:

  1. Addressing the misinformation disseminated by opponents of Canada’s oil and gas industries.
  2. Giving regular folks in the industry a voice.
  3. Reminding Canadians that our exceptional quality of life is owed to our resource industries, including oil and gas.

Oil Respect is not the only campaign aiming to change the narrative around Canada’s resource sectors. Check out the other groups mentioned on the following page and support them in any way you can. After all, we’re in it together for the future of all Canadians.

Where to find us:
  • Web: oilrespect.ca
  • FB: Oil Respect
  • TW: @oilrespect
  • IG: @oilrespect

Canada Action is a volunteer-driven, grassroots advocacy organization founded by Calgary’s Cody Battershill in 2010. The group’s focus is spreading the good news about Canada’s resource industries—their contribution to our economy, to job creation and our country’s impressive track record on the environment, safety and human rights.

The Canada Action team understands that Canada’s natural resource sectors are important to our future prosperity and the Canadian quality of life envied the world over.

The group has enjoyed tremendous success with its ‘I Love Oilsands’ and “I Love Pipelines’ campaigns, encouraging all Canadians to speak up and be proud while spreading the facts about Canada’s world-class resource industries.

Where to find them:
  • Web: canadaaction.ca
  • FB: Canada Action, Oil Sands Action
  • TW: @CanadaAction, @OilsandsAction
  • IG: @canadaaction, @oilsandsaction

Canada’s Energy Citizens is a CAPP-sponsored movement aimed at educating Canadians about energy. For more on CEC, please see page 19.

Where to find them:
  • Web: www.energycitizens.ca
  • FB: @CanadasEnergyCitizens
  • TW: @Energy_Citizens

A not-for-profit run by a volun-teer board, the Modern Miracle Network represents citizens concerned about Canada’s future prosperity, who want to have an adult conversation about energy choices.

Our oil and gas industry is a world leader in innovation, safety, and environmental protection that employs citizens from coast to coast. Support of Canadian industry workers helps us to maintain our world-class quality of life, including schools, hospitals, and social programming.

Since predictions from many non-partisan organizations indicate that oil and gas will remain part of the world’s energy diet over the next several generations, MMN believes that Canada has a role to play in meeting this demand, and that doing so will create a better life for all Canadians.

Where to find them:
  • Web: modernmiraclenetwork.org
  • FB: Modern Miracle Network
  • TW: @mdnmiracle
  • IG: @love.hydrocarbons

Rally 4 Resources is a grassroots movement from Western Canada working tirelessly to promote our resource based industries. Our mission is to unite support from all levels—the people of Canada, industry, and government, and to influence government in their policy making affecting Canada’s natural resource sector. 

Canadians needs to stand in solidarity to defend and promote the future of our resource based industries, dependent on pipeline approvals and construction, tidewater access, liquid natural gas, oilsands, and coal development. Rally 4 Resources gives ordinary citizens a voice and a platform to do just that.

Where to find them:
  • Web: rally4resources.com
  • FB: Rally 4 Resources – The Movement
  • TW: @rally4resources